Canadian Musician - January/February 2023 | Page 43

Mental Health First Aid and additional training in conjunction with SupportAct . Their programs address practical solutions to negative workplace habits and support individuals and groups looking to improve their daily lives at work .
In my work as a human-centred leadership expert , I help organizations cultivate awareness and reflective mindsets to develop practices that support the well-being of the individuals and teams at work . This can and should be applied in the live music industry too . People need to be taught how to communicate effectively , manage stress , and handle conflict in healthy ways in high-pressure , fast-paced environments . Human-centred leadership means focusing on exceptional results , successful outcomes , or business profits while also recognizing the inherent value of all human beings in the business model .
Brad Schiller believes that the most significant barrier to mental health remains the expected back-to-back 12 to 16-hour workdays . As an Austin-based technical lighting expert , author , and veteran in the industry , he makes the point : “ There are regulations for truck and bus drivers regarding maximum hours before needing to sub out . Why not the same for crew ?”
Schiller is encouraged by the different conversations happening now . “ People are talking , sharing , asking for help , and offering help . The big corporations need to be aware of the issues and how they relate to their bottom lines and risk mitigation and start investing in the well-being of the road crew . Crew management companies must provide time to leverage industry resources and cultivate more openness and compassion . It ’ s not perfect , but we ’ re moving in the right direction .”
Influential artists need to add advocacy and practical support for road crew in their riders . Many artists are very vocal about being ‘ green ’ and politically progressive . Let ’ s add supporting the health and well-being of the crew to that focus .
Shenton asserts that we must find the middle ground between mental illness and mental wellness . We don ’ t want to wait until things get unavoidably bad to provide support and resources . Like musicians , roadies experience the non-nine-to-five-ness of the touring life , are often time-lagged , and work in darkness much of the time . The repetitiveness of touring – sharing the same day repeatedly for days , weeks , or months – is not often recognized . This routine can lead to apathy , substance use , chronic fatigue , and disconnection from oneself . When you can ’ t take time off to recover , be sick , and regain balance , conditions can quickly spiral downhill .
So , if you ’ re reading this , what can you do ? If you ’ re a technician , know that you ’ re not alone . Reach out to the existing industry resources and access affordable expertise and support . Find your community and begin identifying what you need to have optimal health and well-being within your work and home life . Wherever you are on the continuum of mental health , you can invest in preventative and supportive measures to improve your well-being .
If you ’ re an artist , continue to advocate for your crew . It might be as significant as rider inclusion or as simple as ensuring they ’ re recognized and supported throughout the working experience . Be a voice , publicly thank them , and challenge tour companies to create better working conditions .
If you ’ re in management ( tech companies , tour companies , event companies ), focus on learning — tackle critical issues like stigma and negative attitudes toward mental health concerns . Invest in preventative training and development . Provide infrastructure and functional changes to ways of working to support optimal wellness on and off the job . Bring together teams to co-create new ways of working where you can realize business outcomes and maintain positive work environments for the crew through meaningful practices . Ensure your powerful voice can speak for the less powerful . It ’ s a good business model for ethical sustainability .
If you ’ re an audience member , become more aware of how important these people are to your experience ; recognize them as professionals ; learn , appreciate , and share their stories .
For everyone , participate in free Mental Health First Aid and Anti-Bullying Bystander Training . Learn how to maintain balance and well-being for yourself and how to support others . Remember the common humanity we all share . Ask questions , listen , learn , and challenge your stigma and bias about mental health and grind culture .
Remember to acknowledge and appreciate the people behind the scenes working to ensure your fantastic experience the next time you ’ re at a live show . To quote Truman , “ Stagehands are the firefighters and magicians of the entertainment world , and deserve to live life , not just survive it .”
Catherine Harrison is a Canadian musician , certified professional coach , author , human-centred leadership expert , and advocate for inclusive and equitable well-being . Catherine provides non-clinical mental health support to music industry professionals . She is changing the conversation about holistic mental health through education , reducing stigma , and facilitating open , courageous communication . www . catherineharrison . com
BEHIND THE SCENES wp . behindthescenescharity . org The Behind the Scenes charity issues grants to entertainment technology professionals , or their immediate dependent family , in need due to serious illness or injury that may be used for basic living , medical or funeral expenses . The charity also issues counseling grants to assist with the costs of seeing a therapist or in-patient or out-patient rehabilitation . It is U . S . -based but expanding is currently expanding its range of services to Canadian industry members .
THE ROADIE CLINIC www . theroadieclinic . com The mission of The Roadie Clinic is to empower and heal roadies and their families by providing services and resources tailored to the struggles of touring . They offer : mental health resources , family support , peer chats , 12-step meetings , suicide prevention , overdose prevention , healthcare , financial literacy , and legal consultants
THE UNISON FUND www . unisonfund . ca Unison is a non-profit , registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music industry , including engineers , technicians , and any working others live music or recording fields . They are there to help artists and music professionals in times of hardship , illness , or economic difficulties .
TONIC MUSIC FOR MENTAL HEALTH www . tonicmusic . co . uk / tonic-rider Tonic Music for Mental Health is a British charity that offers bespoke training and support for music industry professionals , which includes music industry-specific mental health support .
SUPPORT ACT Supportact . org . au Support Act is an Australian music industry charity , delivering crisis relief services to musicians , managers , crew and music workers across all genres who are unable to work due to ill health , injury , a mental health problem or some other crisis , such as COVID-19 .
CREWCARE Crewcare . org . au CrewCare is a membership-based , democratic , not-for-profit charity , whose mission is to effect change for the better in crew welfare — personally , financially and professionally . The CrewCare board is a collective of caring , like minded volunteers , dedicated to improving the welfare of Australian technical and creative live production professionals and their families .